DEAR ABBY: I’m retiring at the end of this year after 50 years of full-time employment and I’m very excited about it. Looking back over my life, I see there have been several life-changing events … marriage, the births of our children, buying a home and, now, retirement.
My wife gets irritated every time I say (about twice a week), “When I retire.” I’m looking forward to all sorts of activities that I’ll have time for. Why can’t she be excited too? She makes snide remarks like, “Well, when you retire, you won’t have anything to say.” The implication is that all I talk about is my retirement, which isn’t true. And if it were true, it’s a big deal to me. What should I say to my wife? — EXCITED IN MARYLAND
DEAR EXCITED: You might start by asking why her reaction is to rain on your parade about something you’re clearly looking forward to. She may be worried about how her life will change once you retire, or she may be a tad jealous. But you won’t know until you have a frank conversation with her that isn’t passive aggressive or tinged with sarcasm.
DEAR ABBY: I have been in a relationship with a woman, “Wendy,” for more than a year. She has one child, whose father isn’t in the boy’s life, so I fill the role of his daddy. We are now expecting a child together.
Wendy had a bad experience with her ex not wanting anything to do with his child. She also has a friend who has had kids with different men who ended up not treating them the same. Lately, Wendy has been pushing me away and trying to get me to leave. I have no plans to leave and I don’t want to.
My question is, how do I make her understand that I’m not the same as the other men, and I want to be there for both children? — MAN IN A TOUGH SPOT
DEAR MAN: A marriage proposal and joint premarital counseling might go a long way in helping your girlfriend understand that you aren’t planning to disappear in a puff of smoke. It might also give you more insight into why she wants to push you away, just in case it’s because she isn’t as serious about you as you are about her.
DEAR ABBY: After the long winters in Minnesota, we look forward to summer to open our windows and enjoy the fresh air. However, we are unable to do that because of wind chimes. Apparently, wind chime owners don’t understand (or care) that the noise carries throughout the whole block, especially on windy nights. PLEASE, folks! Take down your chimes and hang up something quiet instead. — MIFFED IN MINNESOTA
DEAR MIFFED: If your solution to this problem is writing to me hoping your neighbors see your letter, please allow me to offer a better one. Bake a batch of cookies (or another confection), and take it to these neighbors. When you hand your gift to them, explain that their wind chimes are driving you and some of the other neighbors to distraction. Then ask if they would please be kind enough to take them down and suggest that perhaps they hang a basket of flowers in their place.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
Abby shares more than 100 of her favorite recipes in two booklets: “Abby’s Favorite Recipes” and “More Favorite Recipes by Dear Abby.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $14 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Cookbooklet Set, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)